At a glance
- Hailing from Belgium, Frank Cornelissen transitioned from a career as a wine broker to a visionary winemaker, surrounded by exceptional wines from an early age. This unique backdrop set the stage for his future endeavours in the world of viticulture.
- In 2001, Cornelissen established his estate on the slopes of Mount Etna, a region then largely off the radar for most wine aficionados. This choice was both a declaration of independence and a challenge to himself; he was drawn to uncharted territory, free from the weight of tradition and expectations. This move was driven by a blend of pioneering spirit and, perhaps, a touch of masochism. Yet, amidst these challenges, Cornelissen was convinced of Etna's potential to yield wines of extraordinary complexity and character.
- Wine is a cultural product. For Cornelissen, wine transcends its physical form to embody a cultural expression. It's not just a beverage but a narrative of the land, the climate, and the myriad human decisions that guide its journey from vine to bottle.
Frank Cornelissen's journey into the world of winemaking is a tale of passion, innovation, and a deep respect for nature. Originating from Belgium, where he was surrounded by fine wines, Cornelissen embarked on a path less travelled, setting his sights on the volcanic soils of Mount Etna in Sicily. In 2001, he established his vineyard in a region then little known among wine connoisseurs, driven by a belief in the land's untapped potential to produce wines of remarkable complexity and distinction.
Cornelissen's approach to farming and winemaking diverges from conventional methods, including biodynamic practices, which he consciously opts out of. His philosophy is rooted in a purist, almost radical (in a good way), interpretation of natural winemaking. He focuses on minimal intervention, allowing the vineyard's unique terroir and the inherent qualities of the grape varieties to express themselves freely. This means eschewing additives and cultivated yeasts in favour of indigenous ones, and avoiding the use of barrels to ensure the purest expression of the vineyard's character.
At the heart of Cornelissen's winemaking philosophy is the belief that wine is a cultural artefact – a narrative of its environment, the climate, and the human touch that guides its creation. This perspective drives his meticulous attention to detail in every aspect of the winemaking process, from the careful selection of vineyard sites to the thoughtful handling of the wine at every stage of its development.
Cornelissen's wines are a reflection of his commitment to authenticity and excellence. They challenge conventional tastes and invite enthusiasts to explore the deeper, more nuanced layers of wine's relationship with its origins. Through his innovative practices and philosophical approach, Frank Cornelissen has not only redefined winemaking in the Etna region but has also contributed to the broader conversation about sustainability and authenticity in the world of wine.